A spirited recounting of the life and times of one of America's most contradictory and controversial African-American...

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HAVE NO FEAR: The Charles Evers Story

A spirited recounting of the life and times of one of America's most contradictory and controversial African-American politicians. Evers, along with coauthor and oral historian Szanton, provides a fascinating, unorthodox portrait not only of his own unconventional life but of the civil rights movement as it took shape in his native Mississippi. Best known as the brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, Charles had a role in the movement that has been underplayed, a casualty of his amoral behavior. Evers wanted not merely to survive but to get rich in the white man's world. He did what he could, which was to manage whorehouses, sell bootleg whiskey, and run numbers operations. While becoming best friends with Bobby Kennedy, he twice endorsed George Wallace in his bid for the US vice presidency and more recently voted for Ronald Reagan for president. Evers has little praise for his contemporaries in the civil rights movement. He portrays Roy Wilkins, along with the former leadership of the NAACP, as a pampered do-nothing; Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown are accused of being frauds for preaching separatism while sleeping with their white girlfriends. Evers heaps his greatest scorn, however, on white liberals. ""Ask liberals why they use lily-white private schools and they brag about not calling you 'nigger.' It's deeds that count not words."" Evers's greatest accomplishments, to his credit, were deeds. As the first black mayor of a biracial Mississippi town, he expanded city services, provided jobs, and gave both black and white people in his town a sense of dignity. Though often self-righteous, unyielding, and intolerant, Evers's voice is worth hearing. His depiction of the racism he faced as he was coming of age in Mississippi is as melodramatic as it is authentic and significant.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 1997

ISBN: 0471296945

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996